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Solskjaer-Guardiola Off-field Battle Intensifies Pre Manchester Derby

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Just hours before the match Manchester United’s Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer issued a pre-derby warning to his players. In his statement on Tuesday, Ole said that his team should be ready to be kicked at old Trafford on Wednesday.

“There will be fouls. They will snap at your ankles and heels and kick you,” Ole said generalizing the expectations he has from the opposition.

“Did he say that? With 65% or 70% possession, how do we do that?” said Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola in utter disarray. “I don’t like it. My side is not built like that, not at all,” he added condemning Ole’s comments.

Rumored as brutal on the field, Man City has even earlier been accused of committing ‘tactical fouls’ on the field, as per their manager instructions.

However as per the reports, City are bewildered about the fact that United let Ole speak about the issue, even when the stats present a completely different side of the story. According to the numbers issued by Opta, City have conceded 170 free-kicks this seasons, while the city’s red counterpart has conceded 195.

Likewise, City’s players have picked 38 yellow cards and a red card in the league, while United’s player have been shown 64 yellows and four red cards.

“In 10 seasons as a manager, I never prepared for a game thinking about these thing. Never,” said Guardiola. “In football, you sometimes do that [foul] because the actions are so fast. But I never said we should do it to punish an opponent or cancel them. Maybe after the game you can ask him in the press conference,” he added.

However, Solskjaer’s comments still cannot be completely bashed because of what transpired in November 2018, when the teams last met in the Premier League. Guardiola at that time was reportedly given a formal warning by the Football Association for speaking about referee Anthony Taylor.

Presently, the league is evenly poised for both the teams, with United aiming to finish in the top 4 and register a Champions league spot. Meanwhile, City looks to defend their title in neck-to-neck battle with Liverpool.

Also, as referee blows the kick-off whistle in the Old Trafford, the off-field comments and the heated exchange will surely bring some brutality from both sides of Manchester to the game.


City’s Boss Pep Guardiola Unhappy with Gabriel Jesus’ Failed Attempt

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Pep Guardiola

After seeing the Manchester City’s game against Crystal Palace, no one was as dejected as its boss, Pep Guardiola. Guardiola’s frustration from the team’s performance was to the extent that he even claimed the team is “not ready” to win the Champions League, during the post-match interview. 

The two-time defending champion of the Premier League, Man. City won the game against Crystal City by 2-0. However, there were many aspects during the game against the Eagles that indicate Manchester City could have played better, turning the opportunities into the goal.

He said, “We miss a lot of chances in the final third and we have to do that to be clinical. When the people say about the Champions League being the target, we are still not ready. We create a lot and we don’t concede, but we can still improve. We are a team in the last two seasons who score a lot and create a lot. I don’t have doubt about that, but still we have to keep going and work on that.”

Pep Guardiola made the statement about the team needing to work hard came as a response to the question about Gabriel Jesus, who instead of passing the ball to Kevin De Bruyne tried a vain attempt to score a goal on his own.

While speaking of Jesus, the former Barcelona boss said, “Last season was tough for him. After the World Cup it was not easy. But he is strong. He is the number nine for Brazil. So he is an incredible young player.”

“He [Jesus] is so calm. He is a real competitor, he has accepted the decisions, in every session he fights like an animal. Of course he is still young and can improve, like when he has to pass to Kevin. He has to do it. But he is so young.”

However, on Tuesday Pep Guardiola’s team will be facing Atlanta at the Etihad Stadium to improve their point difference against the current champion Liverpool, as The City is still trailing by six points from The Reds, even with seven consecutive wins in the tournament.

And with the upcoming game against Atlanta, Man. City’s Boss Pep Guardiola will be facing the choice to get Sergio Aguero back in the team or provide another chance to the Brazilian defender.

On the other hand, explaining Jesus’ possible state of mind, former Liverpool striker Michael Owen said that the reason Jesus tried to score on his own, was to impress Guardiola and make name for himself in an ongoing competition against famed Sergio Aguero.

He said, “It is a problem because you’re so desperate to impress, if you score a couple of goals, it’s not easy to leave you out. You can understand it, you’re hungry for goals and obsessed with goals. But at some point you have to swallow your pride for the good of the team.”

The only question that remains is will Pep Guardiola replace Jesus with Aguero to teach him a lesson or is the unsuccessful try to score a goal enough for Jesus to know that passing the ball is more important in a game than to keep the ball in one’s possession.

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Saudi Piracy Reboot: Premier League Exposes beoutQ Seller in London

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Saudi Continues Piracy: Premier League Exposes beoutQ Seller in London

English football’s Premier League has revealed that a retailer in London has been convicted for selling the set top boxes, which illicitly gave access to broadcast of its games and other content.

Ammar Al-Silawi, 39, was found guilty on two charges of copyright and fraud each. As per the report, illegal streaming devices (ISDs) provided access to a number of channels, including those of the pirated service provider beoutQ – a pirate pay-television broadcaster serving Saudi Arabia. The seller operated from a shop on London’s Edgware Road.

The trial took place last month, while the sentencing was heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court earlier this month. Al-Silawi received the maximum 300 hours of unpaid community service and was ordered to pay legal costs to the Premier League. The convict was also ordered to comply with the charges, failing to which would result in an immediate custodial sentence.

“The law is very clear that the sale of ISDs is illegal and it is an issue taken very seriously by both the police and the courts,” said Premier League director of legal services Kevin Plumb.

“We will continue to investigate and pursue all suppliers of illegal streaming services, regardless of the size or scale of their operation, to protect the intellectual property that enables the Premier League to be so competitive and compelling,” he added.

The Premier League prosecuted the case along with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police.

This is for the first time where Premier League has successfully prosecuted and convicted the seller. However, the league has argued to continue with the steps and fight against sellers promoting piracy.

For two years, beoutQ has been operating as the single most extensive operation, which has affected the revenue by millions. Factually, the operation is also the most audacious step ever taken to promote piracy in the history of modern media.

Apart from Premier League, other major football bodies including, FIFA, UEFA and La Liga recently issued a joint statement and shunned beoutQ. The leagues in their statement called on Saudi-based satellite operator Arabsat to stop the piracy distribution.

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Bulgarian Coach Krasimir Balakov Resigns amid Mass Criticism on Moot Statement

Mirror News Desk



Krasimir Balakov

Last updated on October 21st, 2019

The past few days have been tumultuous for England’s football team due to the instance of racial abuse during the 2020 Euro Cup Qualifier against Bulgaria.

Moreover, the statement of Bulgarian coach Krasimir Balakov not only led to his mass criticism but also shed light on the fact that how the prominent authorities are willing to avoid voicing the racial abuse concerns.  

The academicians and the researchers for a long time have claimed football to be a binding sport between the players, fans and the administrative authorities. But the recent instances of racial abuse against different players, clubs, and teams have successfully managed many to believe it otherwise.  

The resignation of the Bulgarian coach came four days after the splendid win of England national football team against Bulgaria by a score of 6-0 in the 2020 Euro cup Qualifier.

Following the resignation, coach Krasimir Balakov said, “I am no longer national team coach. I wish success to the next coach, the situation is not rosy at the moment. I have never been a coach in such an atmosphere. I tried to pick up the players in the locker room.”

“There was no rebellion. The players were so mentally stressed by what was happening on the pitch that they lacked the energy to rebel,” he added. Apart from the Bulgarian coach, the whole board of the Bulgarian Football Union, along with its President Borislav Mikhailov resigned on Friday.

The Bulgarian Football Union claimed the poor performance of men’s national team as the reason behind Krasimir Balakov’s resignation. Although, it won’t be wrong to consider the possibility that the criticism for Balakov’s post-match statement amassed might be the reason for his resignation.

Even though there have been numerous instances of racial abuse in Europe, the incident is prevalent in other parts of the world,  including the Middle-East dating back to 1970s involving anti-Arab, promotion of Holocaust against Maccabi Tel Aviv and anti-Semitic taunts.

The horrific scenario achieved new heights in the Middle East region when Iran accused Syria of “fixing” the 2018 World Cup qualifiers match held in Kuala Lumpur.

On the other hand, there have been instances that gave a glimmer of hope like the collective effort of Algerian football fans to stop racial abuses against the dual-nationality players.

The resignation of Krasimir Balakov is a key example that most of the responsible authorities avoid taking a constructive stance on resolving the racial abuse cases on a psychological level, and instead believe in the removal of leadership.

If such practices continue, the famed sport “football” might lose its charm and enthusiasm for which it is known from a long time.

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England Retaliates Racial Abuse at 2020 Euro Cup Qualifier with 6-0 Win

Mirror News Desk



2020 Euro Cup

During England’s 2020 Euro Cup qualifier against Bulgaria on Monday at Stadion Vasil Levski in Sofia, everything seemed to be going well for Gareth Southgate and his team until the racist slurs marred the splendid win against Bulgaria.

There were many other notable instances throughout the match like the combined team effort leading to the 6-0 win against Bulgaria and the efforts of Bulgarian Captain Ivelin Popov to stop the racist abuse.

However, it was the monkey noises and chants aimed at the coloured players of England and the statements from the Bulgarian coach and a Bulgarian journalist after the game that ruined the experience for football fans.

As the 2020 Euro Cup Qualifier against Bulgaria started, the Bulgarian fans directed racist slurs towards Tyrone Mings, who was playing his first international match. Yet, Gareth Southgate’s players continued to focus on the game maintaining the integrity of the game and acquiring the lead of 2-0.

Soon, the game had to be stopped at the 28th minute when England’s forward Raheem Sterling became the target of the abuse. When the game stopped, an announcement was made as per the three-step UEFA protocol for tackling abuse, asking fans to stop the abuse and warning that the game could be suspended if the abuse continued.  

Gareth Southgate and his boys remained undeterred from the fateful incident in the 2020 Euro Cup Qualifier and continued to improve their lead to 3-0 before the game was stopped at the 43rdminute.

The second timeout led to the referee asking England manager Gareth Southgate if England wanted to leave. Southgate in response denied and decided to play until half time, by when the team had already acquired a 4-0 lead.

The extent of the racial abuse during the 2020 Euro Cup Qualifier between England and Bulgaria was so severe that Bulgarian Captain Popov had to ask the fans to maintain calm.

As England’s team tried to reel back from the racial abuse during the match, the ignorant attitude of Bulgarian coach Krasimir Balakov marred the event further for the visiting team.

Additionally, a Bulgarian reporter also claimed that the visiting was exaggerating and the game was so friendly, even though it did not appear so at any point of time during the match.

This is not the first time, a football game or a player became a target of racial abuse. However, continuous instances like this do indicate the need for stricter policies to ensure racial abuse does not mar any event like it did for England at the 2020 Euro Cup Qualifier against Bulgaria.

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Pep Guardiola: Quitting Manchester City On Cards, if Plans Go Otherwise

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Pep Guardiola: Quitting Manchester City On Cards, if Plans Go Otherwise

He was manager invincible pretty much the last season, but the game is changing rapidly even for Manchester City Boss Pep Guardiola, who has vowed to quit if everything goes wrong. Interestingly, as revealed, the fact is also well known to Man City Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

Manchester City’s start to Premier League season has already been dented with 2 defeats in 8 matches contested thus far, and the Champions are 8 points adrift of the leaders Liverpool. The situation has, therefore, left Guardiola both wondering and pondering about what to do about the increasing gap.

Discussing his close relationship with Khaldoon Al Mubarak in his new book ‘Pep’s City: The Making of a Superteam’, Guardiola stated: “He knows I’d step aside if things weren’t going to plan.” Adding, “I’ll give everything to avoid that and make every effort to move things forward. No coasting.”

The book, written with the Spaniard’s full co-operation, also points out that he will put Christmas ban on his players. As noted, Manchester City’s Manager was livid with some of his players who stayed out until dawn at last year’s club bash. As a fact, celebrations were allegedly subjected to even more criticism because they came after a 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace, only a couple of days ago.

Following the decision to stay out until late, Guardiola met with his coaching staff and decided there will be an upper limit on time until which the players can stay out.

Guardiola’s ‘Pep’s City: ‘The Making of a Superteam’ also claims that Man City players came and joined the staff for the party at the Great Northern Warehouse. However, some players decided to enjoy the occasion at the nightclub Chinawhite.

The next day, while most players reported on time to the training ground, some were late because of the previous night’s decision, leaving Guardiola fuming.

Meanwhile, Manchester City will face Crystal Palace in their next Premier League match. Palace, who sit only two points behind City will look to extend their good run against the defending champions. However, Guardiola’s men would like to seal three big points, especially after having already dropped eight points in 8 game weeks.

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